Arista del Cartujo (North Ridge)

Page Type
Granada, Spain, Europe
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Number of Pitches:

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Arista del  Cartujo (North Ridge)
Created On: Apr 16, 2009
Last Edited On: Apr 16, 2009


Probably the most elegant and alpine way of reaching this secondary summit of the western Sierra Nevada range consist in following the north ridge of the mountain. The almost straight ridge follows a 1,2 km long direct north-south line which, progressively, reaches the flat summit of the mountain. There are some boulderlike obstacles along the highest point of the route. To negotiate these passes some easy scrambling in needed. The drop to the left side (east) is big, but the ridge has more kind slopes to the west (right) and these boulders and passes can be avoided.
Arista del Cartujo Overview

The crux of the entire ridge is an abseil (not even 7 meters) followed by a 10 meter high climb over a coulouir of rocks (máx. III+ grade climbing), where rope can be useful. These difficulties can be, both (abseil and pitch), avoided.

In winter snow and ice cover all the route, so ice axe and crampons are needed. There are some passes of 50 grades and the rock climbing is very icy, and it requieres a pitch on ice. As in the summer, it can be avoided to the right.

Getting There

Drive to Pradollano Ski Station of Sierra Nevada (Granada, Spain) along the A-395 road. Once reached the ski resort, do not drive into it (into the covered huge parking) but turn left over the road that goes to 'Hoya de la Mora-Albergues'. This road goes through a pine-tree forest. After some hundred of meters do not take the deviation to the right and keep straigt to 'Hoya de la Mora-Albergues'. The road goes slightly up the hill. At the next deviation follow the main road with a sharp bending to the right and up (deny the road to the left and down). This road will go progressively to the highest point for the vehicles (at 2.550 m height), where a prohibition sign denies the pass for non-authorized vehicles. There are two parkings where some 'huts' are build (to sell souvenirs, rent sledges and sell refreshments to the tourists). This is the 'Hoya de la Mora'. Just some meters before there is the light-yellow building of the Albergue Universitario, the residence for the Granada University Students. Behind the building there are the rocks called 'Peñones de San Francisco'

Approach to the base of the route

Looking down to the Arista del Cartujo

From the parking at the Hoya de la Mora head towards the statue of the Holy Mary (Virgen de las Nieves), in SSE direction. You can take the road that surrondes the hill where the statue is by the right. After this you have to head to the high complex of the Ski Station (called Borreguiles). For doing this the best is to use some of the roads/ski pistes which progressively go into this direction (south). It's not needed to reach the buildings but the best is to pass slightly higher along them, without loosing height. The way goes using the ski-pistes (or the rocky bed of the pistes in the summer).

The next waypoint should be the pass to the left (east) of the Stars-observatory ('Observatorio IAA' at 2.882 m, on the Ed. Alpina Map). This is the leftmost observatory of the two seen. The route goest towards the pass at the left of the leftmost observatory. From here one has access to the 'other side' of the ski resort (known as 'Laguna de las Yeguas').

Once at this pass we have to traverse, firstly to the south and progresively to the southwest and, finally, to the west. For doing this the path goes along the ski-pistes but also along the north slopes of the 'Tajos de la Virgen', trying to keep at about 2.700 m high (the height of the start point of the 'Arista del Cartujo' - ridge which we are trying to reach.

Route Description

From the base of the ridge (probably at its east side) gain the highest point of it easily walking over a rocky slope/snowed slope. The first section of the ridge is very easy. Eventually can be choosen to scramble along the boulders of the highest point of the ridge, but a traverse to the right of them (west) is always possible. Half way the ridge there is a long wide coulouir (with pack-snow during the winter) which is steep (about 45-50 degrees), but not difficult.

After this point scrambling/bouldering becomes more necessary. The ridge drops more and more airly to the left (east), but some escape to the easiest right is possible.

At the beginning of the last third of the route there is an abseil point (some ropes and bands are hanging around a rocky point). This abseil is short (about 7 m?) and in winter becomes even shorter (and some kind of stupid). It can be avoided to the right.

Just after the abseil there is a wall of rock with a kind of gully (10 meters) which requires III+ grade climbing (easy). This can be very iced in winter (and provides a fine ice-climbing pitch). The rope can be useful at this point, which, on the other hand, can be also avoided to the right. It is just a pitch wich can be protected.

After this pitch (or the alternative to the right) there is a steep but easy walk up to the summit. The slope becomes, progressively, less steep and, finally, flat near the top of the Pico del Cartujo (3.150 m)


In summer:

I would recomend helmet, a short (40 meters are enough)rope and climbing-harnass when you are decided to go for the abseil and the III+ pitch. For securing the progress at the 10 meters gully some nuts, friends (middel size) and some of snapper-mosquetons with slings can be useful. A pair of HMS-screw mosquetons are useful for the belaying and belaying points. For a skillful and secure climber this climbing material is not even needed. The abseil can be done with the rope but also with a figure of eight/ reverso or similar.

In winter I advise the use of helmet, harnass, rope (the same as in summer) but also ice-axes (a pair) and crampons. The gully should be icy and, therefore, some ice-screws are needed for this pitch (5 or six maximum), with its snapper-mosquetons and slings. For the abseil you might require a figure of eight, reverso, or similar.

Winter needs extra clothing (gloves, hat,etc...). Summer requires extra sun-protection and enough water.


From Hoya de la Mora to the base of the climb: 2 hrs aproximately
The ridge itself: 2 hours - 2 1/2 hours (depending how difficult you want to make it!)

Arista del Cartujo (North Ridge)

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